Implementing new software, or a root canal?
If you asked a technology integration business owner whether they would rather have a root canal performed or implement new software in their business, they’d likely opt for the root canal. The thought of reviewing options and then literally, turning operations on its ear to put in a new system is overwhelming at best; fraught with risk at worst.
Many business owners will agree that the point of reviewing operations to see what can be streamlined and improved is likely a result of rapid business growth. At many points in a business, the old way of doing things just stops working.
Here’s the good news – operational processes are likely breaking down because:
- Jobs are getting bigger.
- The customer base is growing.
- New market/product opportunities.
Here’s the bad news – things start to break down because:
- Jobs don’t get properly estimated because they are more complex.
- Cash is slower to get in because projects are more complicated making it more difficult for billing and updating the status of a jobs accurately.
- New compliance and regulatory issues arise as companies take on new products and markets.
- Inefficiencies are amplified as volume and complexity goes up.
So, it makes sense that automating processes in the business and streamlining systems would be the way to go. But dropping everything and assessing the business and how it’s going to work is a frightening concept. This is why the most commonly chosen path is “do nothing”. Given the choice of changing or implementing new software systems versus the status quo, the status quo wins nine times out of ten.
A Survival Guide for Implementing New Software for Your Business
For those that have survived the experience and lived to talk about it, they will tell you that when you follow a series of steps, the good outweighs the bad. We’d like to take a moment and point out a few steps you should consider if you are going to take on the task of a software implementation project.
Step 1. Don’t cheap out.
The cheapest road is almost always the worst. You’ve heard the expression, “you get what you pay for.” Thinking that something cheap and out-of-the-box is going to work is likely a solution for disaster. Take time in your business to assign a sponsor with authority to the project and engage an outsider to lead the review and document requirements. This may cost more in the short run but having someone lead the process is a good investment over the mid to long term.
Step 2. Start in the obvious place but don’t be afraid to think about what could be; the root cause of issues is often not where the problem shows up.
Many business owners start by stating, “My job costing is broken” or “I need to fix my accounting processes to get cash in faster.” But just focusing on what needs to be fixed today doesn’t include a strategy for future growth and can miss the root cause of the issue. Look at current data to determine how all areas of the operations loop could improve if you were working from one software platform.
Step 3. Don’t set unrealistic expectations about implementation.
Yes, it’s frightening to change the way you do business by implementing new software systems but Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took a while for things to get to where they are so don’t think once you make the decision to implement something, it can be changed overnight
- Behaviour has to change with respect to using a new system.
- Adoption has to take place.
- Fine tuning needs to happen.
Rome was not built in a day.
Over the next few months, we will be exploring best practices for process management in your business in both our blog and with new guides we are developing. Stay tuned!